LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Manufacturing & Stuff Every Kansan Should Know! - December 30, 2016

(Cobalt Boat FLickr Photo by Putneypics, YETI Flickr Photo by Zachary Collier)

Q: The winter chill may have you thinking about warmer weather. When it comes to summertime fun, you should know that Kansas manufactures two products that go hand-in-hand with sizzling summer temperatures: boats and coolers. Which Kansas community makes high-end Cobalt boats, and which Kansas community makes high-end YETI coolers?

A: Neodesha and Hesston
The southeast Kansas town of Neodesha, in Wilson County, makes the world-famous Cobalt boats. The high-end luxury watercraft company was started here, and these fancy boats have been built by summer-loving folks in Neodesha since 1968. Cobalt has been the market leader in the runabout segment of the boating industry for the past half century. 
Cobalt boats, comprised of roughly 2,500 parts, are largely hand-made with the finest materials available. Even the paint on the boats isn't really paint. It’s some sort of proprietary gel coating that we can't fully explain (even after watching the company's video). Perhaps it's enough to say that Cobalt has consistently received the Highest Customer Satisfaction award from J.D. Power and Associates every single year possible.  
The south-central Kansas town of Hesston, in Harvey County, is already famous for manufacturing riding lawnmowers and agricultural equipment. But increasingly, the town has become well-known for making another summertime pastime: coolers! And not just any coolers. Folks in Hesston make the high-end YETI coolers, cranking out about 2,000 of them each week. YETI is based in Austin, Texas, but if you buy a YETI in Kansas, chances are it was made by the good people of Hesston.
Summer is still several months away, but we can still dream of the warmer weather to come, with images of boats and coolers dancing in our heads. Or something like that. Thanks, Neodesha and Hesston, for keeping Kansas classy and cool when the summertime blues come to town.  
Fun Factoid: The name Neodesha is derived from an Osage Indian word, which means "the water is smoky with mud."

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)